Charger MkII (oz9621)
About this Plan
Charger MkII. Aerobatic sport biplane model. Wingspan 60 in, wing area 1,080 sq in, for .60 to .90 power.
Direct submission to Outerzone.
Update 09/08/2018: Added kit review from MAN June 1989, thanks to RFJ.
Quote: "Review: Charger MK II, from Walt Moucha Models, by Dick Purdy.
Mr Walt Moucha, a long-time employee of Balsa USA, has now established his own business in Menominee MI, and has created a new line of airplane kits that he markets directly under the name of Walt Moucha Models. I've just completed one of Walt's new kits: the Charger II. It was an interesting project that resulted in a sporty-looking model that flies really well.
Walt advertises this model as being suitable for those with inter-mediate skills in building, so beginners or 'low-time' builders should be warned. I won't say the kit is difficult to assemble, but the instructions are scanty and they require some experience to interpret fully.
When completed, the Charger II is a sleek-looking biplane. With semi-symmetrical airfoils and a light wing loading, the model is capable of a full aerobatic program. However, building it did stretch my patience a bit, so, on with the story!
The kit box contains 15 die-cut sheets of high-quality, well-cut balsa and liteply and an adequate supply of stick balsa and spruce. The hardware package is complete and also of good quality (it includes pre-formed cabane and landing-gear wires). You'll have to supply an engine, radio, covering, a tank, adhesives, wheels and wheel pants, which are optional and offered as an 'add-on' item. You could add a pair of pilot figures to occupy the two open cockpits, and a 3-inch-diameter spinner is really a must for smooth, flowing, fuselage lines.
My particular kit was short of sheet material (one sheet each of 3/32- and 31s-inch balsa), two lite-ply wing ribs, plus one tapered trailing-edge piece for one wing. I had stock in my shop to cope with these omissions, but they were obviously annoying.
The instruction manual is a small 12-page booklet that includes several helpful photos, There are two, good-quality, full-size drawings, and I didn't find any discrepancies between the plans and the instructions, but there were some sins of omission in the text, eg there's no mention of the need to install blind-nuts in the fire wall for the engine mount before gluing it into place, or of the need to fuelproof the fuel-tank compartment. This is the type of guidance that a novice needs, but won't find, in this project.
ASSEMBLY: Using liteply side panels with doublers at the front, the fuselage is built first. Balsa sticks form a built-up aft section and a rear turtle deck, and the forward top deck is formed with 1/64-inch ply-wood bent over formers and stringers. The cockpit openings can be cut in this super-thin material after it has been glued into place. That 1/64- inch plywood is fragile, and it must be installed with care! The fuselage drawings show an Enya* .90 4-cycle engine mounted at the nose, and that engine is shown with a 3-inch-diameter spinner. I bought one of these engines and a Tatone* engine mount, and I felt that I had that part of the project well in hand. Later on, I discovered my error!
Next comes construction of the wings. The upper wing has a swept-back planform with no dihedral; the lower wing has no sweep-back at all, but it does have moderate dihedral. There's no special trick to building these very conventional wings, but the instructions are rather deficient on how you should join the wing halves with their upper and lower balsa sheeting at the center section. Just think it through and follow a definite plan, and you'll produce some really nice-looking wings.
The tail feathers are all of solid balsa sheet, and there are no complications in shaping, sanding, hinging and covering these pre-cut parts. As fillets between the stab and the fin, two supplied balsa blocks are contoured to match the rear taper of the fuselage.
When the wings have been constructed (with the ailerons fitted), the bellcranks installed, and the servo cutout completed on the lower wing, it's time to fit the cabane struts. These have to be wrapped with copper wire and soldered at the joints. First, I found that the two pieces of pre-formed wire for the diagonal cabane braces were too long to fit as shown on the plan, but simply by reversing their direction, that problem was easily overcome.
However, after completing the cabanes, I found that the pre-cut interplane struts were 1/2 inch too long. By cutting 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of each one and carefully following wing-rib contours, these were fitted into place..."
Supplementary file notes
Instructions (6 pages, includes photos).
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